Munchak stoking competition for Titans in OTAs
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)
Michael Roos remains Tennessee's left tackle, and Jake Locker doesn't have to compete just to keep his starting job at quarterback. Chris Johnson also is safe along with a handful of veterans, especially those free agents the Titans brought in earlier this year.
Everyone else? Well, coach Mike Munchak has made it clear that depth charts now are only a guide for practice with jobs up for grabs.
Munchak is stoking competition trying to bounce back strong from a 6-10 season, and the new coaches he brought in are learning exactly what talent they have to work with on the field.
''It's definitely good,'' veteran receiver Nate Washington said Tuesday. ''Coach Munchak's been getting on us all day about making sure we're here for competition. ... It's not about a draft chart. It's not about a depth chart. It's not about any of that. We have a talented group of guys ... We all understand that. We've all been getting better in the weight room, pushing each other and also in the classroom.''
The results already are showing on the field where the Titans are moving from drill to drill more crisply in their second week of organized team activities. Play tempo also is much faster than a year ago.
Munchak said that he and the Titans had to restore belief for both players and fans after a disappointing season in2 012.
''We did pretty much about everything we could do between coaching changes and personnel with free agents and the draft,'' Munchak said. ''I think the players saw that. I think the fans saw that. I think there's a lot of excitement about where this team has a chance of going this year versus maybe last year.''
Munchak added four new coaches to his staff, including Gregg Williams as a new senior assistant for defense, and switched some of those still around to new roles. The Titans spent nearly $110 million in free agency bringing in plenty of new players including 13 with at least four years' of experience.
So the Titans are busy rotating players to check them out. There are even some experiments like Scott Solomon, a defensive end drafted in the seventh round out of Rice a year ago, is working at outside linebacker. Munchak said Williams still is just getting to know the Titans on defense.
''You can watch on film, but I think a lot of guys don't want to get caught up in that,'' Munchak said. ''These first five practices the past two, three weeks, he's had a chance to get a better feel for what we have, and I think his input will get better even more so as he watches what we have and see how to fit these pieces together.''
Defensive end Derrick Morgan said he doesn't pay much attention to the depth chart this time of year anyway. The first-round draft selection in 2010 is going into the final year of his rookie contract trying to improve on a season where he started all 16 games for the first time in his career.
''I'm trying to better myself every day regardless because if you get caught up too much in the depth chart and where you're playing, it can play with you a little bit,'' Morgan said. ''You can question why am I not playing here? Why am I going with the twos and threes? I'm going out there, I have my individual things I want to work on and I attack practice like that.''
Some of the biggest competition for playing time will be in the secondary where the Titans signed not just one but two veteran safeties in free agency. They signed George Wilson after Buffalo released him in February, then they convinced Bernard Pollard to join them after winning a Super Bowl ring with Baltimore.
Wilson said he thinks the talk of open depth charts is more for the rookies and younger players on the team. Any player with experience in the NFL knows that starting jobs aren't won in organized team activities, which are for perfecting technique, communication with teammates and being able to play fluidly on the field.
''We know once we put the pads on in training camp, once we get some opportunities in the preseason, that's when the true evaluation is going to come in at, and that's when the decisions will be made,'' Wilson said.
Notes: Receiver Kenny Britt did not practice Tuesday. But Munchak said Britt practiced Monday and will be on the field Thursday and is one of the players they are being cautious with this offseason. ... RT David Stewart (leg) worked in individual drills Tuesday, and Munchak said he hopes new LG Andy Levitre (knee) will be able to do the same in another week.
Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker